Work to modernize Denison’s Chestnut Street is expected to be complete in early August ahead of an Aug. 14 deadline, city officials said last week. The $1.56 million project will see the replacement of Chestnut Street’s characteristic red bricks with a modern, paved concrete roadway with additional green space and widened sidewalks on both sides.

The update came as a part of City Manager Jud Rex’s recent weekly report to staff and the Denison City Council. In the report, Rex said work on the main-lane paving was complete for the four-block section that is being upgraded with about 70 percent of the sidewalk paving complete.

“City crews are preparing underground conduit for the street lighting and landscaping, which will begin for the south side of the street within the next two weeks,” Rex said. “When all this is completed, the striping for crosswalks, center line and parking spaces will be scheduled.”

The project was originally envisioned as a water project to replace an aging waterline underneath the roadway. However, the project was expanded to include a roadway overhaul due to the scope of the project and the condition of the roadway. Over the years, the road had been cut open multiple times to repair the water line leaving it as a mish-mash of brick pavers, asphalt and concrete designed to mimic the look of the bricks.

With the new roadway, the lane width has been reduced and slot parking has been replaced with parallel parking, Denison Public Works Director Bobby Atteberry said Friday. This has allowed the city to install larger sidewalks with green space and shrubbery separating the sidewalk from the roadway itself.

Previously, city officials said the reduced lanes will also have a residual effect of reducing the flow of traffic naturally by design. For his part, Atteberry said the traffic the road generates did not warrant the wider roads.

“I think it just makes for a cleaner, more attractive streetscape,” Atteberry said.

Despite the loss of the brick roadway, a section of the roadway will still feature the characteristic pavers. In August 2016, volunteers began harvesting the bricks with plans to utilize them as a decorative element in the intersection of Chestnut and Burnett streets. This is designed to mimic and compliment a similar brick design at the intersection of Burnett and Crawford streets at Touchdown Alley.

Atteberry said the brickwork has since been completed, but crews still need to install the tie-ins with it and other intersections along the roadway. These tie-ins will connect the new roadway to the existing roadway on the cross streets, Atteberry said.

When asked about any complications with the project, Atteberry said there have been few major complications, but noted there was some difficulty connecting the new utility lines under the roadway with the existing infrastructure. However, city crews were able to overcome this, he said.

Atteberry said he was optimistic that crews would be able to substantially complete the project by Aug. 1, and certain it would be done by the Aug. 14 deadline.